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The National Contemporary Art Award - bold, original and 21 this year

27 February 2020

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Entries are now open for the 21st annual National Contemporary Art Award at Waikato Museum with prize money of $20,000 for the winner, and other awards bringing the total prize pool to more than $27,000.

Waikato Museum Director Cherie Meecham says: “This Award, and the exhibition it fosters, represents a pinnacle of contemporary art in this country. It encourages bold and original works and has helped launch many New Zealand artists into international careers.

“Thanks to our sponsors, it has become an established landmark on the New Zealand art scene with entries drawn from across the country and from New Zealanders living overseas.”

Major sponsors Tompkins Wake, one of New Zealand’s leading law firms, and nationally-renowned architects Chow:Hill, have co-sponsored the Award since 2014 and 2015 respectively.

Winners of the 2020 National Contemporary Art Award will be announced on 7 August at the gala opening of the exhibition of finalists’ works.  The exhibition will then run until 15 November at Waikato Museum.

Entry to the National Contemporary Art Award is open until 1pm, Wednesday 13 May. To enter, go to

2020 competition details:

  • Major sponsors: Tompkins Wake and Chow:Hill.
  • Sponsors: Hugo Charitable Trust, Random Art Group, Friends of the Waikato Museum, family of Campbell Smith.
  • First prize, $20,000; Hugo Award for the runner-up, $5,000; two Merit Awards, $1,000 each; Campbell Smith Memorial People’s Choice Award, $250.
  • Entries close: 1pm, Wednesday 13 May 2020
  • Finalists announced: Week of Monday 25 May 2020
  • Winners announced: Friday 7 August 2020
  • Exhibition:  Saturday 8 August to Sunday 15 November 2020
  • Venue: Waikato Museum Te Whare Taonga o Waikato

For more information contact: 
Crystal Beavis
Partnerships and Communications Manager
07 974 0535, 027 808 8761,